More than five years ago, when Barack Obama threw his hat into the political ring, I realized that he was a malignant narcissist who lied compulsively. For Obama, truth was then and is now defined by the needs of the moment. If it will benefit him at that moment to say something at variance with facts as other people know them, he is telling the truth because his political needs are the ultimate yardstick by which all truth must be measured. This pathological outlook means that, when Obama is caught in what ordinary people would characterize an out-and-out lie, he engages in a cascading cover-up of lies, all dictated, not by objective facts, but by his needs at the moment.
Think of it this way: We’re all living out the movie Gaslight, with Obama as the dangerously manipulative, dishonest Charles Boyer character, and the American public as the hapless, helpless Ingrid Bergman character, whom Boyer is trying to drive mad so that he can take her wealth. (Which raises the question whether Ted Cruz is the Joseph Cotten character who rides to the rescue….)
Even thought I’m right about something depressing, I’m human enough to take some pleasure in having been right in the first place. So, forgive me for analyzing Obama’s latest lies, and his lie about those lies, using a post I wrote five-and-a-half years ago, when I first realized he was using the narcissist’s classic approach to lying and manipulation.
Here’s Obama’s original series of lies about Obamacare, all of which he repeated ad nauseum:
Just yesterday, Obama’s presented his latest version of the “truth” (by which I mean a “truth” direct from Obama’s mouth, rather than through his official spokespeople or media proxies):
And here’s what I wrote back in May 2008 about candidate Obama, when his disturbing pattern of lying — and then lying about his lies — was becoming apparent:
Obama is also a fairly compulsive liar, something that highlights myriad other problems. That is, whenvever he’s caught in a problematic situation (ah, those friends of his), rather than making a clean breast of it, or a good defense, he instead engages in a perfect storm of ever-spiraling affirmative defenses, with the common denominator always being that it’s everyone’s fault but Obamas.
For those who are not lawyers, let me explain what affirmative defenses are. A complaint contains allegations that the defendant committed myriad acts of wrongdoing. In response, the defendant does two things. First, he denies everything except his own name, and he’d deny that too, if he could. Next, he issues affirmative defenses, which concede the truth of the accusations, but deny that they have any legal or practical meaning.
As an example of how this plays out, imagine a complaint alleging that I smashed my car into a fence, destroying it. I’d start by saying, “No, I didn’t.” Then I’d begin the affirmative defenses: (1) “Okay, I did bring my car into contact with the fence, but I didn’t actually hurt the fence.” (2) “Okay, I hurt the fence, but I didn’t hurt it badly enough to entitle its owner to any damages.” (3) “Okay, I destroyed the fence, but it was falling down already, so it’s really the owner’s fault, so he gets no damages.” And on and on, in a reductio ad absurdum stream of admissions and excuses.
These affirmative defense patterns have shown up with respect to some of Obama’s nastiest little pieces of personal history. When Jeremiah Wright’s sermons first surfaced, Obama denied knowing anything about them. When that denial failed, he claimed that he only had one or two exposures to this deranged level of hatred, so he didn’t make much of it. When that denial failed, he conceded that he’d heard this stuff often over the years, but wasn’t concerned about it, because he knew his pastor was a good man. (Which makes Obama either complicit in the statements or a fool.) Indeed, he even made a much-heralded speech about what a good man his pastor is. He then promised that he’d never abandon his beloved pastor. But when his pastor became dead weight, Obama dropped him so hard you could hear the thud.
The same pattern appeared when word got out about Obama’s connection with two self-admitted, unrepentant, America-hating terrorists. (That would be William Ayer and Bernadine Dohrn, for anyone out of the loop here.) When caught, Obama again engaged in a perfect storm of affirmative defenses. (1) I don’t know them. [A lie.] (2) Okay, I know them, but not well. [A lie.] (3) Okay, I know them well, but we’re just good friends, not political fellow travelers. [A lie.] (4) Okay, we’re more than just good friends, because we served on a Leftist board and I sought political advice from him. And on and on. With every lie, Obama concedes, and then comes forward with a new lie.
The same pattern emerges with Rezko, with Obama freely ranging from “I didn’t know him,” to “I never took favors from him,” to “I didn’t take big favors from him,” to “I took a big favor from him, but I didn’t know it was a big favor.” It just goes ad nauseum, as if Obama is a machine, programmed to spew forth this endless flow of denial and concession. The guy is pathological in his inability to admit wrongdoing and his ability to prevaricate.
In an odd way, Obama’s approach to truth reminds me of how they used to break the news to patients about cancer — incrementally, very incrementally. I know this first hand, because this is what happened with my Dad. In his case, the following statements played out over the course of about a week: “Nothing’s wrong.” This was a lie. “There’s a slight anomaly on the tests, but nothing to worry about.” This was a lie. “There’s a tumor, but we’re sure it’s benign.” This was a lie. “The tumor is, in fact, malignant, but it’s completely treatable.” This, too, was a lie. “You have one year.” Finally, the truth. What you end up with is that, at the end of all the lies, cancer is cancer, and Obama’s past is Obama’s past.
The question then becomes whether American voters will be happy with the constant barrage of Obama lies, and will be willing to travel Obama’s incremental pathways to unpleasant truths, or if they’re at last going to rebel and say “Who and what are you?” And if they finally get the truth, and it’s pretty sure to be ugly will it matter?
I’d like to think that the truth will matter, just as I’d like to think that, for many Americans, the mere fact that he lied so compulsively will matter too. After all, that is one of the reasons they’ve grown to hate Hillary. My dream is that, no matter how perfectly polished and highly functional the Obama political machine is, the fact that Obama is still the core of that machine will be, in and of itself, an insurmountable problem for him.
My question then (in 2008) was whether voters would elect a man who lied so frequently and blatantly. My question now is whether America will recover any time soon from the disastrous effects of those lies.
UPDATE: Ron Fournier, who has stood by Obama rather steadfastly for the past five years, is disturbed to find that his idol has feet of clay. He rightly calls Obama on precisely what I’ve described above: the lie about the lie. I agree with everything Fournier has to say about Obama’s lie, except for the very last thing: “On history’s scale of deception, this one leaves a light footprint. Worse lies have been told by worse presidents, leading to more severe consequences, and you could argue that withholding a caveat is more a sin of omission.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong, Mr. Fournier. This is the worst lie a president has ever told the American people. To the extent presidents have lied before, they’ve done so for national security (every wartime president, including Obama himself); because they themselves were lied to, as was the case when Saddam Hussein’s self-created Potemkin village of WMDs led the Bush administration and most world leaders to believe that Hussein did indeed have WMDs; or because they were protecting themselves from their failings, as Nixon and Clinton did. Obama marks the first time ever that a president provably committed an act of fraud against the American people: He deliberately lied to people, knowing that they would believe that lie, in order to get them to change their position to their detriment based upon that lie.
It’s not this November lie that destroys Obama’s credibility. The November lie is the typical retrenchment lie of someone who was caught doing something bad. It’s the original lie — the enormous fraud committed against America — that should outrage every citizen.